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BIOL 110 Edible Ethics

In this Science Technology in Social Context (STSC) course, we will explore interactions between agricultural production, environmental quality, and human well-being. In addition to covering the science, technology, and ecology of food production, we will also discuss many important philosophical and ethical issues relating to food production and consumption such as pesticide usage, genetically modified food, animal welfare, and veganism. This course will enable identification of value conflicts and provide a framework for discussing them. [W, V, STSC]

BIOL 111 Unity & Diversity of Biology

An introduction to the scientific study of key biological principles governing the evolution of life. Students are introduced to three core concepts for biological literacy: evolution, structure and function, and systems biology. Core competencies developed in this course include the process of science as well as communicating across disciplinary boundaries. Topics include selective pressure and adaptation, how plants and animals function at the physiological and organismal level, as well as population and ecosystem processes. [NS]

BIOL 112 Biomolecular Foundations of Biology

An introduction to the scientific study of key biological principles governing cellular processes of life. Students are introduced to two core concepts for biological literacy: information flow and energy transformation at the molecular and cellular level. Core competencies developed in this course include the process of science as well as communicating across disciplinary boundaries. Topics emphasize incremental complexity of biological systems, relationships between structure and function, and their evolutionary implications. [NS]

BIOL 113 Quantitative Biology

An introduction to quantitative reasoning for biologists. Students are introduced to the core concept for biological literacy of systems biology.  Core competencies developed in this course include the ability to use quantitative reasoning, modeling, and simulation.  Topics include data organization, experimental design, statistical inference, data visualization and bioinformatics illustrated by biological examples and data sets.  Learning how to use the statistical software package R will be a key component of the course.

BIOL 202 Data: The Good, The Bad, and the Misleading

In this course, students will learn about common types of miscommunication and misunderstandings associated with visual representation of data and about best practices for data visualization. Through a series of case studies, students will critically evaluate relevant data, the format of its presentation, and the impact the method of presentation has on the reader. Specifically, through critical analysis of the format of the graphs, figures, and tables students will determine whether the chosen methods enable straightforward, independent analysis or push the reader to accept the author’s conclusions. Students will reformat the presentation of the data to determine whether other representations would reveal / support different conclusions. In a final project, students will use and build up on previous knowledge to analyze data to related to a global, national, or policy decision. [STSC]
Prerequisite: Any 100-level lab-based course in the natural sciences.

BIOL 212 Developmental Biology

A study of the process of development at the cellular molecular level as a description of the stages through which an organism gains complexity. The laboratory features living vertebrate, invertebrate and plant examples of the processes discussed in lecture, as well as a student-designed research project.
Prerequisite: BIOL 111-112 or NEUR 201 or permission of instructor.

BIOL 213 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy

This course explores the structure and function of vertebrate animals. Emphasis is placed on the form/function relationship, the evolution of anatomical specialization, and the comparative method. Lecture/laboratory/independent laboratory.
Prerequisite: BIOL 111-112 or permission of instructor.

BIOL 214 Neuroanatomy

An in-depth exploration of the vertebrate nervous system with emphasis on mammals and humans. Lectures detail the structure and function of the brain and spinal cord. The laboratory includes dissection, examination of prepared slides and other materials, and work with computer resources. In the experiential portion of the course, students use classical anatomical and modern molecular techniques to study the brain.
Prerequisite: BIOL 111-112 or permission of instructor; BIOL 213 recommended.

BIOL 215 Phytopathology

Plant diseases cause economic losses that exceed billions of dollars annually. This course is designed to introduce you to fundamental aspects underlying the biology of plant diseases caused by infectious organisms. In this course, we will discuss the concept of plant disease and its causal agents, the mechanisms employed by plant pathogens to colonize the host, the methods utilized by the plant to defend itself against pathogen attack, and the societal cost of plant diseases. [W]
Prerequisite: BIOL 111-112 or permission of instructor.

BIOL 224 Plant Form, Function, and Adaptation

This course will cover the general structure and organization of the plant body and the varied architectural alternatives that plants have evolved with respect to both form and function of growth and reproduction in each of the major terrestrial and aquatic biomes. The course is comprised of lectures, discussions, laboratories, guided and independent investigations, presentations, and field trips. Lecture and laboratory are integrated in the time allotted for this class.
Prerequisite: BIOL 111-112 or permission of instructor.

BIOL 225 Microbiology

The biology of microorganisms, emphasizing prokaryotic structure, growth and cultivation, metabolism, genetics and gene regulation. Lecture topics include bacteria-to-bacteria signaling, biofilms, secretion, and microbial diversity. Lectures are supplemented with readings from the primary literature. Laboratory exercises instruct students on research techniques and provide ample time for open-ended exploration. [W]
Prerequisite: BIOL 111-112 or permission of instructor.

BIOL 231 Ecology

A study of the relationships between organisms and their environment emphasizing basic ecological principles and methods. Laboratory and field exercises illustrate the theoretical concepts discussed in lecture and are writing-intensive. Lecture/discussion/laboratory. [W]
Prerequisite: BIOL 111 or permission of instructor; BIOL 112 is highly recommended.

BIOL 233 Environmental Problem Solving in Biology

This course explores environmental issues using an applied ecology perspective. It emphasizes biological dynamics of human populations and our impact on local, regional and global ecosystems. Topics are multidisciplinary and problem-based learning is emphasized with biological approaches. We review ecological principles in human ecosystems, then explore topics such as environmental public health, ecological risk assessment, exposure to toxicants in the environment, wildlife regulation and management and technology’s role in finding solutions to food production.
Prerequisite: BIOL 111 or permission of instructor; BIOL 112 is highly recommended.

BIOL 234 Environmental Biology

While recognizing the interrelatedness among different areas of environmental science, this course focuses on how biological and ecological applications relate to environmental issues. Emphasis is on how the human population impacts ecosystem function, giving attention both to population regulation mechanisms and to disruption/conservation of ecosystem processes. Laboratory exercises focus on classical applied ecology as well as field excursions targeting policy and management issues. Satisfies core component of Environmental Science minor. Lecture/laboratory.
Prerequisite: BIOL 111 or permission of instructor; BIOL 112 is highly recommended.

BIOL 235 Evolutionary Biology

An introduction to the principles of organic and molecular evolution. Topics include: genetic variation, natural selection, speciation, adaptation, diversification, biogeography, molecular evolution, and the mechanisms underlying each. Laboratory includes experimentation, computer simulation, and relevant reading/presentation of current primary literature in the field. Lecture/discussion/laboratory.
Prerequisite: BIOL 112 or 111, both preferred.

BIOL 245 Immunology

This course examines the immune system at the cellular and molecular level. After examining the basic architecture of the immune system, the course explores the specificity that allows your body to recognize and respond against a virtual unlimited number of potential pathogens. Additionally, the course investigates the development of vaccines and the inappropriate immune responses that lead to allergies and autoimmune disease. Lecture/laboratory.
Prerequisite: BIOL 111-112 or permission of instructor.

BIOL 251 Human Physiology

This course uses a systems approach to human physiology. The functions of the major human organ systems and the physiological mechanisms by which these functions are controlled are considered. In addition to the lectures, there is a weekly laboratory section.
Prerequisite: BIOL 111 or 112 or permission of instructor.

BIOL 255 Molecular Genetics

This course focuses on the study of the hereditary principles that govern cellular processes, organismal development, biological diversity, and the evolutionary changes in populations. The goal of this course is to provide an in-depth understanding of these principles, from both Mendelian and molecular perspectives. Emphasis will be placed on the analysis of the experimental work that, over the years, has led to the current status of the discipline of Genetics. By identifying and discussing the most important aspects of a particular experiment (why it was conducted; which results were obtained), students are expected to establish the link between a concept and the scientific research supporting it. In the laboratory component of this course, model organisms will be utilized to help students become familiar with current methods of genetic analysis.
Prerequisite: BIOL 112; CHEM 107-108 or permission of instructor.

BIOL 256 Neurobiology

This course examines the field of neuroscience from a cellular and molecular perspective, with the neuron and neural networks as the focus of discussion and experimentation. After an intensive look at neuronal cell biology and signaling, the course examines the cellular basis of higher-order functions, such as sensation, behavior, and memory. Lecture/discussion/laboratory.
Prerequisite: BIOL 112 or NEUR 201.

BIOL 257 Public Health Biology

This course provides students with a comprehensive and integrative overview of biological perspectives on public health problems. An emphasis is placed on infectious and chronic disease case studies in the US and abroad. It will provide opportunities to: (1) apply practical knowledge about biological mechanisms to better understand the relationships between biological, behavioral, and environmental causes of health and disease. (2) develop a new evidence-based public health intervention and education module. [W].
Prerequisite: BIOL 112 and 111 or 113 or permission of instructor.

BIOL 265 Biostatistics

This course provides students with a comprehensive overview of probability and statistics in biological research.  Discussion of statistical ideas rather than mathematical derivation is the focus of this course.  Students will learn how to design experiments, how to collect data, how to analyze data, and how to present results in graphical formats. Throughout the course, students will use basic to intermediate level of R programming to learn the above topics and to complete a group project.  No programming experience is required for this course.
Prerequisite: BIOL 111, 112, and 113, and one semester of college-level calculus.

BIOL 270 Special Topics

Depending upon student and staff interests, one or more specialized areas of biology may be offered.  

BIOL 270 Biological Modeling

Mathematical models have been used for a long time to gain insight into and predict the future behavior of biological systems. Such models have contributed to our understanding of phenomena as diverse as disease spread, population dynamics, evolution, conservation, collective motion, and many more. In this course we will survey a variety of mathematical models of biological systems and standard mathematical/computational methods used to analyze them. More specific questions that will be addressed include: What is a mathematical model? Why are models useful in biology? How do models relate to the biological reality? How do we construct models of biological systems? How do we analyze common types of models?

Prerequisite: None; this course is designed to be accessible to ALL undergraduate biology students.

BIOL 272 Conservation Biology

This course provides students with an introduction to the scientific basis of modern conservation biology and the application of these principles to conservations problems around the world.To understand the complexities involved in making conservation decisions, we will read from many sources, have class and small group discussions, and engage in debate. The objective of the laboratory portion of this course is to provide students with practical, problem-solving experiences in conservation biology beyond the classroom. Lecture/laboratory. [W]
Prerequisite: BIOL 111 or permission of instructor.

BIOL 274 Introduction to Bioinformatics

This course provides a comprehensive overview of bioinformatics – the application of computational and information sciences in studying biology. It emphasizes the learning of real-world computational tools and databases used by biologists in conducting research. Major topics include DNA/RNA/Protein sequence analysis, genome annotation, protein visualization, molecular phylogeny, and system biology. Basic understanding of statistics is preferable but not mandatory. No prior computer programming knowledge is required and no computer programming will be taught in this course.
Prerequisite: BIOL 112 or BIOL 111.

BIOL 275 Behavioral Ecology

This course explores both the proximate causal mechanisms (e.g., hormone levels, developmental conditions) and ultimate consequences (e.g., effects on survival or reproduction) of animal behaviors as they relate to navigating a complex and ever-changing environment. Topics include predator-prey interactions, relationships between habitat and optimal foraging strategies, sexual selection, navigation within physically variable environments, and a wide variety of social interactions. Laboratory involves both indoor and outdoor observations and experiments.
Prerequisite: BIOL 111 or permission of instructor; BIOL 231 is recommended.

BIOL 277 Cell Biology

This course covers structure, function, and chemistry of cells, organelles, and membranes. Specific topics include cellular energetics, information flow in cells, cytoskeletal structure and functions, signal transduction mechanisms and cellular aspects of the immune response, and cancer. Students read selected topics of current importance in cell biology and present oral and written reports.
Prerequisite: BIOL 111-112 or permission of instructor.

BIOL 278 Precision Medicine

The Human Genome Project revolutionized biomedical research through the discovery and integration of Big Data. Post-HGP endeavors, such as ClinVar and the All of Us Research Program, have been designed to accelerate our research progress into clinical practice. Prevention and treatment strategies that take individual variability into account are not new concepts. However, precision medicine advances the field by leveraging technological progresses and ‘omics’ data to improve prediction, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment for individual patients.
Prerequisite: BIOL 111-112 or permission of instructor.

BIOL 310 Aging and Age-Related Diseases

In this course, we will study aging as a developmental process defined by changes in the anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry of the brain as well as age-associated changes in behavior. We will also examine the biological basis of neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer¹s disease, associated with the brain¹s aging process. The basis for our learning will be the formation of questions, discussions and review of the current literature, and field experiences with aging populations. [W]
Prerequisite is one of the following: BIOL 212, BIOL 255, BIOL 256, or permission of the instructor.

BIOL 314 Anatomy of Vision

An exploration of the conceptual approaches and modern experimental techniques used in functional morphology. Through a combination of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, and biophysics, students explore the functional and evolutionary bases of vision in vertebrate animals. Practicum provides students an opportunity to critique primary literature and develop projects.
Prerequisites: BIOL 111-112 or permission of instructor; BIOL 213 recommended.

BIOL 317 Physiology of Extreme Animals

In this class, we will explore the specialized physiological processes animals have developed to meet environmental challenges, including being tolerant to drought, heat, low oxygen levels, freezing, and lack of food. After examining general physiological adaptations, we will use case studies from “extreme” animals for further exploration. Along with minimal lecturing, we will synthesize the primary literature while developing skills essential to professional scientists, including communicating science, constructing research proposals, and defending opinions orally.
Prerequisite is one of the following: BIOL 231, BIOL 251, or permission of the instructor.

BIOL 328 Cancer Biology

Cancer Biology is focused on the cell at the molecular level.  Using cancer as a theme, and how normal cellular processes go awry leading to cellular transformation, you will learn about the architecture of the cell and how cells adapt to changes in their environment.  Additionally, this course will cover how cells communicate, and differ in relation to their structure and function.
Prerequisite: BIOL 111-112, and BIOL 245, BIOL 255 or BIOL 277.

BIOL 332 Advanced Aquatic Ecology

Students develop advanced knowledge of freshwater ecosystems and ecological analysis. Laboratory and lecture are tightly integrated. Students develop a small-scale experimental model of a freshwater ecosystem, plus do individualized field-based investigations. Both oral and written presentation of findings are required. Examples of some topics include temporal change in biotic communities, nutrient cycling and biota, and predator impacts on ecosystem dynamics. Strong emphasis on ecological design/ analysis, identifying experimental variation, and self-directed learning. Lecture/seminar/ laboratory.
Prerequisite is one of the following: BIOL 231, BIOL 234, or BIOL 272.  Knowledge of statistics is highly recommended.

BIOL 336 Evolutionary Genetics

This course introduces students to topics in population genetics and molecular evolution, with particular emphasis on the experimental quantitation of genetic variation, molecular systematics, and the molecular evolution of genes. The main focus is to give students direct experience in the critical reading, evaluation, presentation, and discussion of primary literature in the field of evolutionary genetics.
Prerequisite: BIOL 112 and/or 111, and at least one of the following: BIOL 235, BIOL 255, or CHEM 350.

BIOL 342 Restoration Ecology

This course is designed to give students an overview of the natural and social elements of ecological restoration. We will examine the entire process of restoration: goal setting, planning, implementation, experimentation and monitoring, adaptive restoration, and communication of results. We will cover the ecological foundations of restoration for populations, communities and ecosystems, and students will apply ecological theory to restoration practice by considering case studies and engaging in problem-based learning and field investigations. [W]
Prerequisite: BIOL 231 or BIOL 272, or GEOL 212 or GEOL 300 or CE 321.

BIOL 345 Infectious Disease

Extended exposure to immunology (following BIOL 245) covering various aspects of human pathogens and how the immune system handles them. Vaccines either in use, in trials, or under development are explored for each of the pathogens. Students read primary research articles and participate in discussions. Practicum provides hands-on opportunity to explore aspects of vaccine development. Lecture/practicum/discussion/seminar.
Prerequisite: BIOL 245.

BIOL 350 Genomics

This course focuses on particular aspects of the structure and function of genomes. Topics covered in Genomics include approaches to studying genomes, anatomies of eukaryotic nuclear and prokaryotic genomes, synthesis of the transcriptome and proteome, regulation of genome activity, how genomes replicate and evolve, and the evolutionary relationships between genomes as determined by molecular phylogenetics. Using primary research literature, students analyze a specific topic in depth and present their findings in oral and written reports.
Prerequisite: BIOL 255.

BIOL 356 Biomedical Informatics

This course focuses on using genomic information, statistics and computational methods to study the relation between genomic variations and diseases. Students will learn major biomedical informatics approaches in translating the fount of genomic information into promising actionable treatment options through lectures, journal discussions, and project presentations. Major topics include human genome, genomic variations, genome-wide association study (GWAS), cancer genomics, microarray technology, next generation sequencing, pharmacogenomics, and personalized medicine.
Prerequisite: BIOL 111-112, preferably BIOL 255 or BIOL 336, or permission of instructor.

BIOL 360-380 Special Topics

Dependent upon student and staff interests, one or more specialized areas of biology are examined.
Prerequisite: BIOL 111-112 and other courses, as specified by instructor.

BIOL 401-404 Independent Research

A limited number of juniors and seniors may conduct an in-depth investigation of a particular topic in biology under the supervision of a faculty mentor.  Hours by arrangement.
Prerequisite: Permission of faculty mentor and Department Head.

BIOL 490 Capstone in Biology

This capstone course for biology majors, is a culminating experience for seniors to integrate their learning. Students discuss how prior courses informed and altered their understanding of at least three of these five concepts: evolution; biological molecule structure and function; information flow, exchange, and storage; matter/energy pathways and transformations; and systems biology. In addition to metacognitive reflection, this course emphasizes higher-order thinking, communication skills, and societal problem-solving abilities through meaningful connections among different courses.
Prerequisite: Open only to biology majors with senior standing.

BIOL 495-496 Thesis

Majors with strong academic records and research potential are invited to become candidates for departmental honors toward the end of the first semester of their junior year. The courses consist of an original laboratory investigation and culminate in a thesis submitted at the end of the senior year and defended before the department staff and guests they may invite. Hours by arrangement. [one W credit only upon completion of both 495 and 496].
Prerequisite: BIOL 265 and permission of faculty mentor and Department Head.

Special Note:  For classes of 2023 and beyond, ONE course for the B.S. major and ONE for the A.B. major from among all research offerings (401 through 496) may count toward the biology major. Students receive credit for additional such courses toward the 32 required for their degree, but they will not count toward the major.